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AFSCME Rejects Immigration Policy Based on Fear

WHEREAS:

America is, and always has been, a nation of immigrants, and AFSCME recognizes the indelible contributions of toil, dedication, patriotism, innovation and vibrancy that immigrants make to American culture; and

WHEREAS:

President Donald Trump has unleashed relentless attacks on the rights of immigrants, including rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, ending the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for countries such as El Salvador and Haiti, deporting long-time community members who are parents of U.S. citizens, turning his back on refugees, denying some foreign nationals admission to the U.S. on the basis of religion and making disparaging comments about immigrants’ countries of origin; and 

WHEREAS:

The Trump administration’s practice of separating children from their parents at U.S. borders is particularly cruel and immoral. It is incompatible with American values, and the administration’s ineffective efforts to reunite parents and their children compounds this indecency; and  

WHEREAS:

Members of Congress have abdicated their responsibility to formulate legislation that will solve the immediate crisis for workers and their families resulting from the harm done to the DACA and TPS programs; and

WHEREAS:

Congress has failed to devise a comprehensive immigration reform plan which will create a pathway to citizenship and refocus the debate on workers’ rights, so that anti-immigrant rhetoric is not used to drive down labor standards. As a nation founded by immigrants and built on the rule of law, the United States must balance the challenge of controlling borders and protecting national security with the protection of civil liberties and due process in a manner consistent with American values; and

WHEREAS:

The failure to pass the Dream Act is particularly shameful, as the United States is the only country most Dreamers have ever known, with the average age of arrival being six years old. Our nation will benefit by offering them a pathway to permanent citizenship through education, military service or consistent employment; and

WHEREAS:

The Trump administration’s anti-immigrant policies have a devastating impact on sectors with high immigrant labor participation, including early childhood education, where 20 percent of workers are immigrants, and the direct care workforce, where 25 percent of workers are immigrants; and

WHEREAS:

The Trump administration has reversed previous policy focused on deporting immigrants with criminal records and has now instructed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to expand arrests to those immigrants who have merely lost DACA protection but have otherwise abided by the law; and

WHEREAS:

Such detainees are subject to long-term confinement in private prisons, such as those operated by CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America), where they are often denied adequate medical care and subjected to forced participation in exploitative labor programs. In addition, the Department of Justice has suspended the legal orientation program for these detained immigrants, depriving them of information about their legal rights.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

That AFSCME calls upon the Trump administration to drop its DACA appeal in the courts, and to immediately reinstate the program by instructing the Department of Homeland Security to reissue the memorandum which originally created the program; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

That AFSCME calls upon Congress to pass a clean Dream Act without delay, creating a pathway to permanent citizenship for a generation of young people with immeasurable potential; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

That AFSCME and its affiliates at all levels demand the humane treatment of those seeking asylum from violent and economically destitute countries, reject immigration policies based on religion, race or ethnicity and oppose family separation and long-term detention of youth and parents who pose no public threat. We further demand the immediate reunification of any families that remain separated; and 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED:

That as long as Congress and the Trump administration refuse to take action to protect the Dreamers, AFSCME will redouble its efforts to embrace the Dreamers in our midst, and will work to educate immigrants about their rights, including those relating to interaction with law enforcement and immigration officials.

SUBMITTED BY:

International Executive Board

Donna Stern, Delegate
AFSCME Local 140, Council 25
Michigan

Matt Hilton, President and Delegate
Jennifer Barker, Secretary
AFSCME Local 328, Council 75
Oregon

Carmen Rivera, President and Delegate
Cesar Centeno, Vice-President and Delegate
Ruth Afolabi, Secretary-Treasurer and Delegate
AFSCME Local 107, District Council 1707
New York

Nadine Peyrucain, President and Delegate
AFSCME Retiree Chapter 57
California

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